Even as the planners delivered their bootless wish list to the Planning Commission, the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City proposed that the City invest $200,000 (or eight percent of the current budget surplus) in an independent traffic study. As SMCLC said in its proposal, “The city’s current traffic impact methodology is seriously outmoded and flawed. We propose using this money to replace its outdated methodology with one that is newer and more accurate.“The current methodology that Santa Monica’s consultants use for Environmental Impact Report traffic studies is not working because it is not intended to help planners deal with traffic impacts. It evaluates only isolated street intersections (often using data that is several years old). Consequently, any mitigations recommended to increase capacity frequently cannot work because there are no more effective mitigation options available. All the simple things to do have already been done.“… alternative traffic impact methodologies… are far better…because they map traffic on an area-wide grid basis to establish the traffic trends…[and] help to determine whether more effective mitigations exist, not just to an intersection, but to the entire impacted area. Such mitigations could include such things as one-way streets, over and underpasses, reverse lanes (time of day), shuttle buses, etc….“…It will help our city revise the circulation element of its General Plan so that it actually will work for our city’s future growth and it will also promote accurate, long-range planning to reduce future traffic impacts.”A presentation on an alternative and far more comprehensive traffic management system was made to both the Planning Commission and the City Council last spring, but the City was apparently not interested in improving its obviously inadequate methods. Now, at SMCLC’s behest, the Institute for Transportation Studies at UC Irvine, which made the presentation last spring, has submitted a proposal to the City. Since the City’s plan to end the traffic jam is thoroughly loony, we urge it to take SMCLC’s advice, accept the UC Irvine group’s proposal, and put it to work immediately. Then we might actually see some real motion by the ocean.
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